Authorities should protect KyivPride2016
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) urges Ukrainian authorities to support and protect the Fifth Annual International LGBT Forum KyivPride on 6 to 13 June 2016.
– We have seen a series of attacks on public LGBT events in Ukraine during recent years. We are concerned about the security of the organizers and the participants. Police should provide effective protection, says Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General of the NHC. – This is an opportunity for Ukrainian authorities to demonstrate their commitment to human rights and democratic values. The police should prove that they are able and willing to protect the safety of Ukrainian citizens, not the least those who are most vulnerable.
An important part of the program will be the March of Equality on 12 June, a manifestation in support of the right to security and freedom from violence for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender persons (LGBT) in Ukraine.
On 24 May 2016, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent letters to the Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klytchko, the Ukrainian Minister of the Interior Arsen Avakov, the Chief of the National Police Khatia Dekanoidze and Head of the Public Security Police in Kyiv Andrii Kryshchenko. The letters urged that they extend their full support for KyivPride2016 and take all necessary measures to support and safeguard the event.
The Organizing Committee’s work to organize the International LGBT Forum the last five years has been challenging and even dangerous at times. There is a high level of public resistance against the LGBT population and a determination from hate groups to prevent LGBT events.
– It is important that responsible politicians and public officials show that they fully support initiatives that contribute to an open and inclusive society, says Mina Skouen, Advisor on LGBT in the NHC. – There have been some reassuring examples of Ukrainian authorities and law enforcement agencies responding to violence against LGBT events in an adequate manner. Unfortunately, in several cases they failed to do so as well.
Several LGBT events have been canceled because the police have stated that they cannot safeguard the participants. In some cases, politicians have asked that the organizers cancel events. In other cases, people have been injured without the violence being properly investigated. Homophobic and transphobic slurs from public officials and hate groups have not been properly addressed.
– We commend all efforts to secure the forthcoming International LGBT Forum and the Equality March, says Skouen. – Authorities reallocating events to remote places or waiting until the last moment to agree on venues may send the wrong message. We expect that Ukrainian authorities signal that they are prepared to defend fundamental human rights for all its citizens.
In its letters, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee urges key Ukrainian institutions to:
– Publically express their determination to safeguard the International LGBT Forum KyivPride 2016 and the Equality March;
– Meet with the Organizing Committee to ensure effective cooperation regarding the events, and agree on the venue for the Equality March at least 48 hours prior to the event;
– Take all necessary measures to ensure that all events proceed in a safe manner.
We also ask Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klytchko to ensure that Kyiv City State Administration:
– Declare full support for the event and raise the issue publicly, as President Petro Poroshenko and other public officials did in 2015;
– Ensure that all events will be carried out in a peaceful and safe manner and refrain from any statements encouraging the organizers to cancel the events.
Finally we ask that there will be no impunity for any homophobic and transphobic acts.
Letter on KyivPride2016 to Arsen Avakov, Andrii Kryshchenko and Khatia Dekanoidze(309kb)
The letters to Arsen Avakov, Andrii Kryshchenko and Khatia Dekanoidze can be read here:
The letter to Vitaliy Klytchko and Kyiv City State Administration can be read here:Letter on KyivPride2016 to Mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klytchko(211kb)